thinking about going fretless

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by xcental34x, Mar 24, 2003.

  1. xcental34x


    Feb 28, 2003
    Memphrica, TN
    I tried my first real fretless this weekend, and I actualy happened to like it. It was a Dean Rhapsody Fretless Semi-hollow. I actually want to get one now. I'm looking at the Tobias Toby Pro-5 Fretless now, since I was gonna get the fretted version originally for a good finger/slap bass. Anything I need to know before I make the plunge.

  2. Nothing you need to really know, but you do need to make a choice... lined or unlined. There have been a zillion threads on which is better with no real answer. It really is a matter of taste.

    Other than that, set your action low, dig the sound, and be amazed by how cool the fretless groove really is.

    And welcome to the WOF (world of fretless). Shoot us pic when you take delivery.
  3. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I yanked the frets out of my Peavey B-Quad 4, and let me tell you this: fretless is the coolest! You may find that slapping will be a little hard and/or sound funny on fretless. Look into a bass with a hard fretboard (ebony or graphite) to help with the slap tone, as well as keep it from getting destroyed by your roundwound strings. Also, look into getting nickel wound strings as they will be easier on your fretboard than steel. Good luck!
  4. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    Go fretless! You won't regret and it will give you whole new range of sonic options.
  5. xcental34x


    Feb 28, 2003
    Memphrica, TN
    I really want to. I'm tempted to strip the frets on my '79 Squier II P-bass. How does the Tobias Toby Pro5 Fretless sound?

  6. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    You can certainly choose to do the former but a couple caveats:

    If you do it yourself make sure you do your homework (perhaps a given).

    Also, be prepared for the fact that your bass will take a hit in terms of resale value. As an alternative you might want to get a fretless neck from someone like Warmoth or Moses.

    As for the Tobys, I have no experience with them and can't help on that one...
  7. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    That Toby pro 5 fretless at looks very nice to me. And the 60 Watt amp for 99 cents is a nice little bonus. You'll really enjoy fretless, it's a lot of fun.
  8. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Fretless is wonderful. I love the tone and the feel.

    Regarding slap, keep in mind that it sounds totally different on a fretless. Darker, and thumpier. gthe bright, metallic tone that you are used to hearing when you slap a fretted is impossible to get on a fretless.

    I happen to love the sound of slapping my fretless, but a lot of people don't like it.
  9. marc40a


    Mar 20, 2002
    Boston MA
    I'd recommend getting an inexpensive but quality instrument to start with. Don't spend a lot of cash.

    I'd keep two things in mind:

    A.) No matter what you think now...You're not going to play it as much as your fretted (I'm talking about gigging.) - it's a lot more difficult and the sound isn't widely accepted by other musicians.

    B.) At first you're going to dig sliding around and using vibrato. After the honeymoon you'll come to the realization that it's a lot more difficult to play it spot on - with no swooping around.

    I think you'll find that the instrument demands it's own repetoire as opposed to just tranferring all of your fretted stuff over to it.
  10. Stupidnick


    Mar 22, 2002 room...
    hey man... you and me are pretty close together..
    I live in southaven/hernando area

    dude. consignment in memphis has a Cort B4F.. that is super nice! its 450 with a case. Bartolini pickups man. WOW what a bass.

    Contact me sometime if you wanna jam. Im a drummer too.
  11. jazzcatb17


    Dec 27, 2002
    Louisville, Ky
    i just a a Rhapsody HBF out of layaway, absoulutely wonderful upright tone with some brite flats on it (ground-rounds). gets good mwah too, alright on the jaco tone, but im not a huge fan of his tone anyway.....:)
  12. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    About fretless...Go For It!!!!

    I defretted my Squier P Special 5. While it was an excellent fretted bass, it's turned out to be an amazing fretless...especially for about $200.

    The biggest adjustment that I found was in vibrato. With frets, we go side to side, with fretless we go up and down along the fingerboard.

    It takes some getting used to, but it was actually quite easy for me...but I had bass-bud Eli handy for inspiration. His vibrato is just so beautiful!!!

    The other things to keep in mind are that the set up for fretless is a little different (you want the fingerboard pretty flat) and it's very helpful to have EQ available with sweepable mids. Mwah hides in the 800 to 975 Hz range and it's a great help to be able to zero in on the exact frequency to make the mwah come alive. Once you find it you won't be able to wipe the smile off of your face:)